Alore Primary School @ 70: …..A glance at Ilorin based earlier indigenous primary education

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By Is’haq Babatunde

It was a refreshing moment and a gathering of reunion on the 1st of January, 2018 at the premises of Alore Primary School, Ilorin, when the scholars, professionals, administrators, technicians, traditional rulers and a host of personalities converged to celebrate the 70th year anniversary of the school.

The old students who have finished from the school several years ago were able to reunite after long years of departure. They were embracing themselves, exchanging pleasantries including cards and mobile numbers as well as remembering themselves their various funny  nicknames attached to each and everyone of them when they were in school.

It was indeed a moment of joy and happiness to the old students while the non students in attendance equally caught fun from the enjoyable scene. The fanfare created and other side attractions that featured at the event enticed some non students of the Alore primary school in attendance as many of them imagined to be the old students of the celebrated school.

Pupils of the school entertaining guests during the event.

Alore primary school was established on the 1st of January, 1948 at the heart of Ilorin, precisely, Oke-Apomu area. It is one of the very few primary schools that was established in Ilorin during the colonial era. The school was twelve years old as at the time Nigeria gained independence.

Going down the memory lane, the idea of the school was conceived by the then 8th Emir of Ilorin, His Royal Highness Sheikh AbdulKadiri Shuaib Bawa, during the native authority of Ilorin local government, to germinate a viable primary school that will further provide children of Ilorin Emirate with a sound and qualitative primary education.

The school cropped up as at the time when western education seemed to be very strange to most parents in the Emirate. Their affinity to Islam and fear of not allowing western education as a bait to western ideology compelled many parents then to deny their children acquisition of western education. This perceived erroneous belief actually affected the school enrollment at the beginning but as time went on, the school began to enjoy massive enrollment when the stereotype had been thrown in to dustbin .

To God be the glory, Alore Primary School has actually fulfilled  the dreams of the forefathers as it has produced large numbers of people who had risen to the top of their chosen careers. Also, a lot of it’s old students who were in attendance during the seventh decades celebration are men and women of timber and caliber who have traversed the country and beyond during the cause of doing what their professions demand.

A lot of them have represented Nigeria at various fora both at home and in diaspora. Prominent among the old students of the school included the former President of Ilorin Emirate Descendant Progressive Union (IEDPU), Alhaji Abdullahi Atanda; the present Magaji of Apala’s compound, Alhaji Muhammed Mahamud Sambo Apala,  both were among the pioneer pupils of the school.

Also, the foremost Nigerian outstanding Engineer who doubles as the ‘Sana’ of Ilorin, Engineer Lanre Sagaya; the present Magaji Oloje, Alhaji Muhammad Nuhu Rufai among others are also products of the school.

To say that Alore Primary School has produced all manner of professionals is to say the obvious, the school which kick started 70 years ago has ultimately written its name in the sand of time.

A don at the Kwara State University (KWASU), Dr. Abdulquadri Sambaki who was the guest speaker on the occasion had the listening hears of the old students and current pupils of the school who came from far and near to  attend the  epoch making event.

Dr. Sambaki who reminded the gathering of how and when the school was started considered the old and current pupils of the school lucky for being parts of the history, saying that the story of Alore Primary school will be incomplete if the names of its pupils are exonerated.

The KWASU lecturer however canvassed for the upgrading of primary education in Nigerian, just as he described primary education as an essential pillar that must stand on a good footing.

He said if Nigerian government is serious about repositioning of the country’s education, a great attention must be paid to both infrastructure and welfare of the teachers of primary school.

Sambaki appealed to the federal  government to make sure that teachers are paid as at when due to help them discharge their duties effectively.

He however observed that there is no contrast between Quranic and western education as it was made to believe in those days, saying that researches have shown that early Muslim scholars contributed significantly to the promotion and development of science and technology.

In his comment on the occasion, a lawmaker representing Ilorin North-West at the Kwara state House of Assembly, Honourable Abdulrahaman Abdulrauf gave assurance of the government’s intervention to primary schools in the state especially in the areas of providing conducive learning and teaching environment and good welfare package for the teachers.

He pledged to use his good office as a lawmaker to ensure that Alore primary school is captured among the selected primary schools that will receive government’s attention this year in terms of upgrading and face lifting.

The lawmaker called on old students of Alore primary school to as a matter of priority assist their alma mater by a way of giving back to the school that gave them educational foundation.

One of the awardees on the occasion, Dr. Ahmed Salihu Sebutu promised that efforts are on top gear to upgrade the Alore Primary school with the inclusion of Junior Secondary school very soon.

Sebutu who is the Permanent Secretary in the state,  gave assurance that upgrading of Alore primary school to junior secondary school  will be done very soon.

On the teachers’ welfare,  Sebutu  urged teachers to be patient with government  and pleaded with them to be committed and dedicated for the growth and development of the children, pointing out that the children they are nurturing  will reward them beyond what they envisaged apart from the government reward.

He advised parents to give their children the right education and mobilising resources for the attainment of sound and qualitative education of their children.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Head Mistress of the school, Alhaja Ajarat Obalowu described the 70 years of the existence of the school as a mile stone achievement and commended the founding fathers of the school  and the then native authority of Ilorin local government for their good vision.

Obalowu appealed to private individuals, old students and government to support the school morally and financially, saying that government cannot be left alone with the responsibility of the school management, upgrading and teachers’ welfare.

Alore primary school was established on 1st January, 1948 during the colonial era before Nigeria independence.
The historic step to establish the ancient Primary School was taken by the then 8th Emir of Ilorin, His Royal Highness Sheikh AbdulKadiri Shuaib Bawa. His emissaries led by Emirs’ Daudu visited Oke Apomu to convey His Highness intention to establish the primary school. The delegates met with the then Magaji of Elesinla/Sebutu compound, Alhaji Muhammed Jimoh and Alhaji  Mahamud to seek for land where the school could be located.  Earlier, the present location of the school was western education which was stranged and perceived as a way of brainwashing their children with western ideology, way of life and style of taking their children. The only acceptable form of education to our forefathers then was the “Islamic education”. Hence, the refusal of parents to send their wards to study western education.
Among the first set of students enrolled in the school were Alhaji Abdullahi Atanda, former Chairman of Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU),  late Alhaji Shehu Babaita, late Alhaji Saidu Obalowu, and Alhaji Muhammed Mahamud Sambo Apala, the present Magaji of Apala’s compound.
The first Headmaster appointed for the school was late Alhaji Salau Popo. Expectedly, his enrollment by his father was completely condemned and seen as an abomination. Parents hide their children from being enrolled into school.

As the time went on, parents began to have a change of mind and this witnessed an increase in enrollment of more pupils such as Mustapha Ile Keke, Engineer Lanre Sagaya (Sana of Ilorin), present Magaji Oloje, Alhaji Muhammad Nuhu Rufai among others.
Over the time, as the school was becoming over populated, the need to expand became obvious. This gave birth to Oke Apomu Primary School established in 1992 as an extension of Alore Primary school.

One of the questions begging for answers is why the name Alore Primary School instead of Oke-Apomu where the school was actually sited. The only known answers to this question are ; the only route then to where the school was to be located is from Alore also, the Eleshinla/Sebutu’s family who voluntarily gave out the land attend their congregational prayers vat Babaita Mosque which is located at Alore Community. These two reasons gave birth to the School name as “Alore Primaey School”.
Regardless of the school’s name which is different from its host community name, the purpose for which the school was established is to provide qualitative education for the entire community and its environs. Worthy of note, the host community did not see the name as a barrier to give their total support and cooperation for the school to serve it’s purpose which today has produced many important personalities  who have impacted positively in our society and Nigeria at large.
Down the history lane, the school had witnessed different transformation by different Government and has been managed by different administrations from Local School Management Board (L.S.M.B) to Zonal Education Board (Z.E.B) and now Local Government Education Authority (L.G.E.A). In 1993 during the civilian administration of Governor Muhammed Sha’aba Lafiagi, Alore Primary school was divided into two different sessions “morning and afternoon session”. Also in 1992, the school was separated into two, “Alore School A”, and Alore School B” headed by two separate Headmasters which remain same till date.
Worthy of mentioning in the School History are the past and present Headmasters for their wealth of administrative experience used in piloting the affairs of the school to achieve the aim and objectives of it’s founding gathers.


1- Alhaji Salailu Popo,  from January 1st 1948 to December 30th 1955.

2- Alhaji Saliu Gobir,  from January 1st 1956 to December 30th 1957.

3- Mallam Shaba Lafiagi, from January 20th 1958 to December 30th 1958.

4-  Mallam Usman Karami, from January 16th 1959 to December 30th 1959.

5-  Mallam Muhammed B. S., from January 8th 1960 to December 12th 1960.

6-  Mallam Saliu Gobir, from January 1st 1961 to December 12th 1962.

7-  Mallam Abdul-Karim Paku, from January 29th 1962 to December 30th 1964.

8-  Alhaji Omomeji Agbaji,  from January 1st 1965 to November 27th 1970.

9-  Mallam Razaq Ahmed, from December 15th 1970 to April 16th 1974.

10- Alhaji Ibrahim A. Onaolapo, from September 9th 1974 to May 5th 1975.

11-  Alhaji Ibrahim Ayinla, from May 6th 1975 to September 9th 1985.

12-  Mallam Anafi Gidado Ishola, from September 9th 1985 to January 13th 1986.

13-  Alhaji Azeez Alee, from April 1st  1986 to January 20th 1987.

14-  Alhaji Oba A. Adisa, from January 20th 1988 to January 11th 1988.

15-  Alhaji Ibrahim A. Onaolapo, from January 16th 1989 to March 16th 1994.

16-  Malam Saka Yusuf, from March 17th 1994 to December 31st 1999.

17-  Alhaji A.A. Ayelabegan, from February 9th 2000 to December 31st 2003.

18-  Malam Oba A. Nuhu, from January 12th 2004 to January 31st 2005.

19-  Kadiri Basiru, from February 1st 2005 to October 16th 2006.

20-  Mallam S.M. Raji, from October 17th 2006 to September 1st 2014.

21-  Alhaja A. Obalowu M., from November 11th 2014 till date.


1-  Mrs. C. B. Arosanyin, from December 6th 1996 to May 28th 1998.

2-  Alh F.S. Adebayo, from May 28th 1998 to June 26th 1998.

3-  Alh F.A. Muhammed, from June 25th 1998 to April 5th 2005.

4-  Mrs. D.T. Hammed, from June 5th to 2005 to December 31st 2008.

5-  Hajia H.A. Yusuf, from December 31st 2008 to August 8th 2016.

6-  Hajia J.A. Hassan, from  December 8th 2016 till date.

The event featured celebration of the school and presentation of merit awards to selected personalities in the emirate including the ‘Sana’ of Ilorin, Engineer Lanre Sagaya; a posthumous award to the pioneer Headmaster of the school, late Alhaji Salaudeen Alamu Popo; a commissioner of Women Affairs in the state, Hajia Ayinke Saka; the Assistant Director at the federal Inland Revenue, Alhaji Yahaya Umar Oloriegbe among others.

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